a photographer's view to the world – a traveler's blog
Even at night, the water hole attracts wild animals: elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and others are coming to get their share of water. Live isn’t possible without water. When visiting such dry areas, you can learn how valuable water is and that dystopias from the 1970 and 1980 where wars are started to get access to water might become reality very soon.
This memorial is dedicated to Hermann aka Arminius (appr. 17 b.c. – 21 a.c.), the son of a chieftain of the Cherusker people. There’s not much known about him. As a child, he was taken from his parents and brought to Rome to educate him and make him a real Roman. He learned well and joined the army. As he was quite talented the Romans sent him back to the region he originated from and made him the leader of a military auxiliaries troop of locals.
After a while, he was able to persuade the locals to fight against the Romans. His troop was responsible to protect the roman army and their civil staff on their way back from the wild area east of the river Rhine back to the fortified cities east of the river Rhine, a trip the roman army did each fall to stay in the cities for winter and not in tents.
On this trip, the track was attacked by the Cheruskers and maybe also other tribes. It seems, no Roman soldier or civilian was able to escape as there are nearly no reports available.
For a few years, archaeologists are pretty sure about the place of that battle because of the found artifacts. Before, there were a few other possible places considered. Nowadays we know, this monument is not in the right place. It’s approximately 100km south of the site, where roman remains were found, which seem to be left after that crushing battle about 2000 years ago.
On a scouting trip this summer, I used the opportunity to visit this place with my wife. We were there for the first time. It’s a small place, but with an impressive history. I’m not very happy about the look, the mood, and the appearance of the memorial. But, considering the time when the memorial was planned and constructed, I have to admit, it fits in the time. Not only in Germany these glorifying and heroizing monuments and buildings were set up. You can find similar buildings in all parts of the western world.
While I already used parts of the text above on Monday for Monochrome Monday, I have a total of the memorial for you today. It was built from 1838 until 1875. The whole memorial is 53,46 meter high, while the statue alone has 26,57 meters. Until the Statue of Liberty in New York was built in 1886, this monument was the highest in the western world.
The memorial is set up on top of a 386 meters high hill in a way, that Hermann can look in the plains down to his feet. You reach the memorial from the back. To look in Hermann’s face, you have to pass the memorial and walk downstairs to a terrasse and turn around, like I did for this photo. Otherwise, you can already see him from the plains below. But, nowadays it’s not so easy anymore to see the memorial from the plains because the trees grew since the 19th century.
You can even climb up the memorial. Right below Hermann’s feet is a balcony surrounding the statue. You can even climb up inside the statue up to the face. I skipped climbing up the memorial because of the still unclear situation with COVID-19 at that time.
Excire has started its Christmas Promotion.
Anyone who purchases Excire Foto between December 16th, 2022, and January 6th, 2023 will receive the Excire Analytics extension as a gift (worth 39€).
Excire Analytics is a great added value for your customers. By using it they can gain exciting insights into their photographic work.
Retrieving the gift is simple: instead of Excire Foto, simply add the Excire Foto + Excire Analytics bundle to their shopping cart with a reduced price of 99€ instead of 129€.
If you want to purchase both Excire Foto and Excire Search add the complete Excire Collection to your shopping cart with a reduced price of 169€ instead of 189€. The Excire Collection consists of Excire Foto, Excire Search, and Excire Analytics.
But that’s not all: With the code Excire79 you can get Excire Foto or Excire Search for only 79€ instead of 99€. Of course without Excire Analytics. This promotion also runs until January 6th, 2023. The code can be used when ordering in the shop.
The same is valid for the US shop! Simply replace the € by $ 😁
Skylum also has a special offer for Christmas. Until
December 26th, January, 3rd you can save some money.
❯ Plan Explore (Luminar Neo without the add-ons) :89 $/€ instead of $275 for the 12-month subscription plan (includes 3 additional free months)
❯ Plan Pro (Luminar Neo with add-ons) :99 $/€ instead of 658 $ for the 12-month subscription plan (includes 3 additional free months)
❯ Lifetime License : 99 $/€ instead of $275
❯ add-on packet: for those, already owning one of the above: $199/€383.
You can save a few additional bucks when using the code “SOLANER” during checkout.
When arriving in Etosha National Park in north-eastern Namibia 3 weeks ago, we had to wait a while until the huge elephant herd crossing the road. Approxymately 60-80 elephants, mothers, calfs, and adolecents were coming right from a waterhole a few hundred meters away heading back to the bush. One boy, walking at the end of the herd, paused in the middle of the road and tried to impress us with his posing. But all the others were simply walking their way. Very impressive!
And, you can’t imagine how silent they were while coming closer, crossing the road, and vanishing in the bush. The whole event from seeing the elephants coming around a corner in some distance to their vanishing in the bush on the other side of the road lasted approximately 20 minutes.
… from Africa again. This time seeing wild animals was the central aspect of the trip. For my trip, I headed to Namibia again. But instead of traveling around through the deserts, I headed north. Starting from the Etosha pan we traveled eastwards crossing the Caprivi strip and ending the trip after a more than 2,100 km drive in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
It was a very different experience compared to the last year’s trip. Although it was more or less the same time of the year (end of November = start of the rain season) and the same temperatures of between 36 and 38°C. Last year we visited deserts, saw lots of dried-out rivers, and were not sweating much. The humidity was much lower.
The Etosha pan is a large endorheic salt pan, forming part of the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin in the north of Namibia. It is a hollow in the ground in which water may collect or in which a deposit of salt remains after water has evaporated. The 120-kilometre-long (75-mile-long) dry lakebed and its surroundings are protected as Etosha National Park, Namibia’s second-largest wildlife park, covering 22,270 square kilometres (8,600 sq mi). The pan is mostly dry but after a heavy rain it will acquire a thin layer of water, which is heavily salted by the mineral deposits on the surface. (source: Wikipedia)
We were very lucky to be able to see many different kinds of wild animals. Among others, we met all the Big 5: lion, rhino, elephant, leopard, and buffalo.
Leaving Etosha eastwards, the environment changes slightly, but noticeable. The brownish dusty dries were accomplished by more and more trees and rivers filled with water instead of sand and dust.
I even was lucky enough to be able to capture a few images of the other signature animal of Namibia: the African fish eagle (the other one is the Oryx).
Although we traveled at the beginning of the rainy season, we had only two occurrences of rain: hard rain and a thunderstorm one evening and night at the end of the first week and another one on our last day, which was already without any specific pre-planned activity.
I’m in a hurry, but I want to share some information with you. With the discount code “Excirefire30” you can get a 30% discount on all products in the Excire shop. The code is valid from November 21st until December 4th, 2022.
You don’t know, what Excire is? No problem. It’s the perfect solution for finding images in your archive. Excire Foto helps you find the searched images without manually tagging your images. Tags are set by the AI. Excire Foto analyses your images by content and colors. In the past, I published a review. Although the review was for version 1.0, it’s still a good starting point. The latest version can even find duplicates and much more. Give it a try. There’s a free demo available to test all features with your own images. Try it and be amazed.
I’m in a hurry, but I want to share some information with you. With the discount code “Excirefire30” your customers can get a 30% discount on all products in the Excire shop. The code is valid from November 21st until December 4th, 2022.
You don’t know, what Excire is? No problem. It’s the perfect solution for finding images in your archive. Excire Foto helps you find the searched images without manually tagging the images. Tags are set by the AI. Excire Foto analyses your images by content and colors. In the past, I published a review. Although the review was for version 1.0, it’s still a good starting point. The latest version can even find duplicates and much more. Give it a try. There’s a free demo available to test all features with your own images. Try it and be amazed.
I just finished developing another folder from my backlog. This gem was residing in my backlog folder since May 2017 😳😲
Middle Europe is a mess when you want to take photos of the night sky or of the stars. In the past, I have already complained about it a couple of times. Light pollution everywhere. Recently I was in an area flagged as being an area offering the best conditions for gathering the stars. Fortunately, even the clouds were merciful enough to allow a clear sight. Located at the coast and embedded in an agricultural region, this location proposed quite good preconditions. Even the light pollution map rated that region green. So, I gave it a try for getting an image of the center of the Milkyway. Now, near the end of the summer (and especially near the sea) the humidity is not as high as it is here in my region. So, I expected sight conditions similar to a cold winter’s day. You know, the Milkyway isn’t visible the whole year. It’s only visible from late March (in the early morning hours before sunrise) to the end of August (in the early night hours, right after sunset). So, my window was quite short: Sunset at 20:30h, Moonset at 21:50h, end of twilight at 22:00h (more realistic: 23:00h), Milkyway set at 23:24h.
During twilight, I prepared my equipment and pointed the camera in the right direction. But, when it became darker, I noticed a huge (industrial) area spilling the sky with light. Impossible to get the image I was waiting for. Nevertheless, I tried everything as planned to see, if I can rescue the image in postproduction. Long story short: no! But, while waiting, I noticed crisp clear stars right above me. After finishing the planned shots, I recomposed and directed my camera straight to the sky above me and in the image above, you can see my result. I’m quite happy with that one, although it’s still not the center of the Milkyway!
Never before, I was able to capture one of these guys so close. They are at home around the Baltic Sea, along the North Sea, along the Norwegian coast, and in Iceland. You can also find some of them at some lakes here in Germany. While I was on Usedom for our vacation, I got the opportunity to go to a nature protection area near by. Despite that fact, I needed a really long lens. Unfortunately the sky was very cloudy that day.
White-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) are bigger than the American bald eagle, but smaller than the Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus), also known as Pacific sea eagle or white-shouldered eagle. The White-tailed eagle has a wingspan of up to 250cm. There’s a saying, when you have the impressing, there’s a room door flying above you, it’s a White-tailed eagle. They are really impressive.
Fortunately, the population is slowly growing again. During the 1970s DDT created huge problems for them. While eating dead animals poisoned by DDT or wit ha huge level or DDT in their bodies, the poison also in the eagles’ bodies enriched which caused a severe problem: the egg-shell became too thin, so the the eagles destroyed their own eggs while breeding them. During the 1980s, DDT got banned and the number of eagles raised again. Slowly, but steadily.
It’s so fascinating watching them passing by. Because of their size, it seems, they were quite slow. Most of the time, they are gliding. But, a a single flap of their wings speeds them massively up. Same is true, when they start using thermal up-streams. You can’t change your lens fast enough to capture them neither in the “elevator” nor on the “highway”.
For hours, 2 of them were sitting on high trees with no activity, but too far away for an image. Even with 800mm attached to my APS-C body (resulting in 1200mm f5.6) would only give me a few dark dots somewhere in the trees.
Last week I was on a short family vacation at the Northsea: me, my wife, and our grandson (5 3/4).
We were gifted with fantastic weather. Nicely warm and sunny days at the beach and on the many playgrounds the town set up over the years. We visited that town not for the first time. So, we were able to see the development. Especially my wife was there quite often when our kids were smaller. She went with only one at a time, while the others stayed home with me. Now, all of them are adults and traveling with their partners.
Being at the coast means having a good portion of wind around you all the time. During low tide, the beaches grow. When low tide is in the evening, you can have much space for flying a kite. We’ve chosen that way for the kite instead of going to the kiting ground because there are more pro-kiters and a small kid does not have the room he needs for his little kite.
Saturday before last, I was in our state capitol to see one of the results of the long-lasting drought, we’re suffering this year. The fourth year in a row. Many smaller rivers and creeks don’t haven’t water anymore. Lakes and ponds dry out or at least overheat and endangering the fishes that way.
That river is one of the big streams here in Europe and it’s used as a road for large barges. When I walked down the riverbank and came closer to one of the spur dikes (they are built to slow down the water) when I noticed this single sunflower, blooming on a part of the riverbed, although the image seems to show something different, because you can’t the exact location.
I’m taking this sunflower as a sign of hope. Hope for water will come back to this level. Hope, because there is still some water in the ground.
12 years ago, my wife spent a week with our youngest at the north sea. Thanks to a very proposing weather forecast, I came up with the idea, to surprise them by making a day trip to visit them. So, I told the other two kids to prepare some breakfast suitable to be eaten on the road and get up that early to be able to be on the road at 6 a.m. What a surprise, when we arrived at noon. At that time, the motorway ended early and the remaining nearly 100 km had to be covered on regular country roads. Nowadays the highway reaches much closer to the coast and shortens the distance to only a little more than 3 hours.
After having dinner together, we headed back home and arrived at about 1:30 a.m. What a day!
As proposed last week, I’m continuing with a few images taken in the schoolyard, which we stumbled upon accidentally.
I’m glad, we followed the sign leading us in the narrow street. Fortunately, the painting from the first image in the gallery below was visible from the place where we found the sign. So we went for having at least a brief look. At the end of the street, we found the schoolyard. Full of people (painters and their company), a DJ, lifting platforms, compressors, and a lot of ladders were here. The artists were working on their paintings or talk shopping. Some of them were already done while others even have not yet started.
Last Saturday, we finally met again: monthly photographers roundtable. After nearly one year without a common trip. The past 2,5 years were hard and now it has to become routine again. But, I won’t complain. Despite the overall situation, I was out quite often. And, to be honest, there were a few meetings without a camera, simply for having a talk or celebrating a birthday. But, I missed the regular common photography trips. They are often challenging because you have to leave your comfort zone and face unknown places as well as unknown photography topics. So, this time street photography and art photography from a nature and wildlife photographers perspective. Once started, you have to find your flow first and work on the perspective. Consider, what you want to show. Are you keen enough to photograph strangers? And don’t forget the legal regulation!
Although only 3 of us met in Geldern, a small town near the Dutch border. Each year (with interruptions – sic) on the last weekend of the state’s summer holiday they organize a Street Art festival. This year it was held for the 42nd time. I got notice last year from our newspaper but wasn’t aware of being a regular festival. Unfortunately, it was canceled on very short notice. So, I was very happy one of the other photographers had it on her list and was planning to go (even alone). So, my destination was also found and we would either have a meeting of 2 in Geldern and another one elsewhere with the others. but, it came out that only 4 of us were available that day because of vacations and one had to cancel with short notice. So, there were three of us in Geldern.
All of the painters created their pieces of art with colored chalk. In between, some street musicians presented their skills; fortunately, only very few booths offered drinks or food. I was quite surprised to see so many female artists painting. I guess, 80% of the painters were female as well as many of the solo musicians.
The festival starts on Saturday morning and lasts until Sunday noon. So, the species of art are not supposed to be ready on Saturday evening and you can view them creating their paintings. It’s really fascinating.
The only downside was, that some musicians were too close to each other while playing, although there was plenty of room. So, their music overlapped and it was not nice listening to that noise carpet.
On our way back to the cars, we discovered another interesting site by following a sign in the streets: a schoolyard was decorated by talented graffiti artists. But, I leave that for next week.
Wasps are under nature protection, although humans usually hate them.
During summer, they invite themselves to our barbeques because they need meat to feed their larvae. In late summer and fall, they invite themselves to our coffee tables to get a porting of sweet cake, ice cream, or fruits. Although the larvae need meat, the adults feed themselves from pollens, honey, and overripe fruits. Thus, our cakes and especially plum cakes fit perfectly in their nutrition ☹️ and we have them around us each day with nice weather.
On hot days, they also come over to ponds, poodles, and bird baths to fetch some water for their larvae. These are leaves of water lilies in a pond. When there is a bit of water on such a leaf, they use it. If not, they have to stand on a leaf and drink directly from the pond’s water.
Soon, their breeding season is over. Then, the adults (all females) are unoccupied and roam around to find some sweet food and the humans are annoyed again.
Because of their importance to nature, they are protected. In case, you find a nest, you have to leave it alone. There are very high fines when a wasp nest is destroyed. In case, the nest is endangering humans, they can order a beekeeper to relocate the nest carefully.